2010 was one hell of a year. It was JBE’s first full year as a company and we have alot of good news to share about it.
1) Print Books: At the end of 2009, we signed a deal to get books into game stores. 2010 saw 3 books printed and in game stores: Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Mech Squadrons (Traveller), Book of Beasts: Monsters of the River Nations (PFRPG), and the d66 Compendium (Traveller). We’re very pleased with the sales numbers for all three. The real breakout star of those three is the Book of Beasts, currently going on its third printing. Quite astonishing for such a young company.
2) PDFs: Our #1 sales earner of 2010 from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow was Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Fighters and Small Ships. That really surprised us since it came out in 2009. Typically the first month a book is released is when all the real sales happen. Afterwards it hold what is referred to by PDF Publishers as “the long tail.” That’s when <5 sales per month occur. Far to few for a brick and mortar game store to notice, but more than enough to draw a long term profit for PDFs. While that was mostly true for MTnb:FnSS, two months stood out last year: March and June. Both saw higher than expected sales numbers. They are really responsible for that book doing so well. Tying for #1 was the Book of Beasts. No real surprise there. It did exceptionally well as a print book so it should do equally well as a PDF. And it did. Just goes to show. SF lovers love ships and Fantasy lovers love monsters.
3) PDF to Print Series: While we didn’t set out to do this on a major scale in 2010, it has become a major part of our business model. When I calculated out that the individual d66 PDFs paid for the Mech Squadrons and Book of Beasts print runs, I saw the real value in releasing PDFs and compendiuming them into a print release. The print run is already paid for and there is much, much less risk involved. Win-win scenario. The first release where we set out to do this was the Book of the River Nations: Exploration and Kingdom Building Rules followed up quickly by the Mass Combat rules. The first is well on its way to becoming our best selling PDF to date with the second not far behind.
4) PDF Guarantee One of the best decisions we made this past year was to follow in the footsteps of companies that came before us and release our PDFs for free when you buy a print book. This has opened doors for us as well as helped customers get exactly what they pay for. When you buy a print book, we feel that you should have it in its electronic form as well. We stand behind that 100%.
New for 2011
So what can you expect from JBE in 2011? Short answer, what you see in our PDFs, you will see in print. We’re going to continue our PDF to Print Compendium because it makes excellent business sense to do so.
Coming soon in the next few months is the Feats, Spells and Magic Items for the Book of River Nations followed lastly by a GMing section explaining how to creature your own maps, set up your own adventures and customizing the rules to your particular environment.
For Traveller, we have two particular series in mind. First is careers, second is warp ships. We plan to start with the careers sooner and release warp ships more towards the 2nd half of the year.
We have more exciting plans for 2011 that we’re not prepared to talk about yet, including some straight to print books we’re working on. 2011 is going to be a real break out year for us. And we hope that you are along with us for the ride.